Westside Psych


Easy Gratitude Practices

Gratitude is defined as a '"feeling of thankfulness and appreciation” (www.vocabulary.com). Numerous research studies have shown that gratitude can help to reduce stress, promote happiness, and have positive health benefits. According to the “The Science of Gratitude” (2018), there are several benefits to gratitude practice.

For the individual:

  • increased happiness and positive mood

  • more satisfaction with life

  • less materialistic

  • less likely to experience burnout

  • better physical health

  • better sleep

  • less fatigue

  • lower levels of cellular inflammation

  • greater resiliency

  • encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom

For groups:

  • increases prosocial behaviors

  • strengthens relationships

  • may help employees’ effectiveness

  • may increase job satisfaction

If you are interested in learning specific and easy ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily life below are some gratitude practices adapted from Sansone & Sansone (2010) and Emmons (2010).

16 Easy Gratitude Practice

  1. Journal about things, people, or situations for which you are grateful. Consider including negative situations like avoiding an accident, for instance.

  2. Think about someone for whom you are grateful

  3. Write a gratitude letter to someone for whom you are thankful. Consider sending it or giving it to them in person.

  4. Meditate on gratitude 

  5. At the end of your day write down three things for which you were grateful.

  6. Practice saying “thank you” in a real and meaningful way. Be specific.

  7. Write thank you notes. Challenge yourself to write one hand-written note every week for one month.

  8. If religious, pray about your gratitude or use specific prayers of gratitude.

  9. Recall a negative event. Doing this helps you appreciate your current situation.

  10. Be mindful of your five senses. How does each enhance your life?

  11. Create visual reminders to practice gratitude. Sticky notes, notifications, and people are great for this.

  12. Focus on the good that others have done on your behalf.

  13. Actions lead to gratitude. Smile, say thank you, and write gratitude letters.

  14. Be on the lookout for opportunities to feel grateful.

  15. Give something up. We tend to adapt to newness; sometimes it’s a good idea to give something up so that we can increase our appreciation of it.

  16. Think about what your life would be like if a specific positive event wouldn’t have happened. Write all the decisions and events that would have been different in your life. For instance, what if you didn’t meet your spouse? What if you didn’t get the dream job you have now? What if you hadn’t stopped a particular bad habit?

By Candace Burnham, PsyD